M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola, FL 32502
This is intended as a brief overview of preferences regarding hearings and procedural matters. Your courtesies in adhering to these preferences will be greatly appreciated and will make our system one which runs more smoothly and efficiently for all involved.
Division "E" in Escambia County is a general jurisdiction division which consists of Felony Criminal, Circuit Civil, Probate, and Guardianship cases.
The Code of Judicial Conduct precludes Judicial Assistants from making substantive inquiries of the judge on behalf of any attorney or litigant involved in any action. The Code prohibits all judges from considering ex parte (one side only) communications.
Judicial Assistants are neither qualified nor able to provide legal advice to anyone. Judicial Assistants may assist with procedural inquiries only.
Take a moment to organize your thoughts and have the pertinent file in front of you before scheduling a hearing. Please file your motion with the Clerk of Court and send opposing counsel a copy of the motion. Moving party should take the lead in setting pretrial motions. When calling to schedule the hearing, please have all the information needed, such as the case number, case style, and type of hearing you are setting and amount of time needed for the hearing. Do not guess. Make sure you allow enough time for both sides to be heard. Judge Shackelford strictly adheres to the amount of time requested. If a hearing needs to be set before or after a particular date, please indicate so before dates are offered. Know the names of the attorneys involved in the case.
If your telephone system has the capability, arrange conference calls with opposing counsel’s office to coordinate the date and time for hearing prior to calling the judge’s office. This will eliminate calling the judge’s office several times and ensure the hearing is on everybody’s calendar. If your telephone system does not have the capability for conference calling, please contact the judge’s office for dates to coordinate with opposing counsel. It will be the moving party’s responsibility to coordinate the hearing. Dates will not be protected/final until the judge’s office is notified that the hearing has been coordinated. Always contact the judicial assistant by phone to confirm the hearing date. Please do not rely upon voice mail or email for scheduling as messages are sometime unclear, incomplete, or the particular time may no longer be available. Schedule adequate time and do not piggyback motions onto time already scheduled or another motion in the same case unless you check with the opposing party first as well as judicial assistant. The judge will not hear motions which have not been properly scheduled.
A hearing may not be necessary if the motion is stipulated. These matters can be expedited if the moving party states within the motion that they have conferred with opposing counsel/party who has no objection or if opposing counsel/party indicates his or her approval by initialing the proposed order. The Court will review all cases with a stipulated motion before deciding whether to approve the stipulation.
When preparing a proposed order subsequent to a hearing, an advance copy should be provided to opposing counsel to determine whether there is an objection as to form prior to its submission to the Court. The proposed order should then be provided with a cover letter indicating opposing counsel’s position. Otherwise, the proposed order will be held a minimum of ten (10) days for opposing counsel to respond. Please email all proposed orders with the case name/style, case number and title of proposed order specified in the subject line to: Please email messages to:
If a case or issue resolves, notify the judge’s office immediately and cancel all scheduled hearings so time can be cleared for other hearings. Valuable calendar time is lost because reasonable notice is not given that could be used for other hearings. Notice of Cancellation or Notice Withdrawing the Motion will be necessary.
Primary and secondary email designations are required.
FELONY CRIMINAL CASES
Docket Day and criminal Jury Selection hearings begin at 8:30 a.m. Criminal Jury Selection will begin the Monday approximately 13 days following docket day (unless a holiday, then Tuesday). Jury trials will begin at 8:30 a.m. unless (due to the length of the trial) an earlier time has been agreed to by counsel and the Court.
If Discovery is the basis for a Motion to Continue, please set depositions and provide those dates in the motion. The next docket day and trial date should be included in the proposed order.
A hearing will be required for Substitution of Counsel on cases that are set for trial and the case has been previously continued.
Certificate of Service on all motions should reflect the name of the Assistant State Attorney.
Violation of Probation hearings are scheduled in Arraignment Court for an Uncontested VOP at 9:00 a.m. Contested hearings will be set at 1:30 p.m. One day is reserved for these hearings every three or five weeks.
Dates for hearing will immediately be offered for bond motions on new cases so long as there is no bond currently set or the bond amount is outside the guidelines of the bond schedule based on the charge. Otherwise, dates will be offered for bond motions on new cases after an Information has been filed and defendant has been arraigned and set for trial if the current bond is within the guidelines of the bond schedule. Bond motions for VOPS and Failure to Appears will need to be reviewed by the Court prior to scheduling a hearing. The Court will determine whether a hearing is necessary.
The office preparing a proposed order subsequent to a hearing shall provide an advance copy to opposing counsel to confirm there is no objection as to form of the order prior to its submission to the Court. The proposed order should then be provided with a cover letter indicating opposing counsel’s position. This will result in the proposed order going directly to the judge for consideration/signature. Otherwise, the proposed order will be held a minimum of ten (10) days for opposing counsel to respond. Note: Please do not send proposed orders to the Court or the Clerk’s office prior to hearing. We prefer proposed orders brought to the hearing or submitted as described above.
Please refer back to “GENERAL INFORMATION.”
Case Management Conferences are required for trials requesting five (5) or more days. Mediation is required for all jury trials, and judge trials requiring more than two (2) hours. Mediation must be scheduled prior to setting trial and can be no more than a year prior to the date of trial. Trials scheduled for more than one (1) week will be required to remediate one (1) month prior to trial.
The opposing party will have ten (10) days to file an objection to the Notice for Trial. The Court will prepare an Order Setting Case Management Conference. The conference will be set without coordinating with the parties. If the scheduled conference time is inconvenient for the parties, it will be the responsibility of the party with the conflict to reschedule the conference immediately upon receipt of the order by contacting the judicial assistant. Dates will be provided to coordinate with opposing party. Once a date is confirmed, the Court will prepare an amended order.
The office preparing a proposed order subsequent to a hearing shall provide an advance copy to opposing counsel and confirm there is no objection as to form of the order prior to its submission to the Court. The proposed order should then be provided with a cover letter indicating opposing counsel’s position. This will result in the proposed order going directly to the judge for consideration/signature. Otherwise, the proposed order will be held a minimum of ten (10) days for opposing counsel to respond. Note: Please do not send proposed orders to the Court or the Clerk’s office prior to hearing. We prefer proposed orders brought to the hearing or submitted as described above.
Please refer back to “GENERAL INFORMATION.”
In an estate or guardianship, please file all paperwork with the Clerk’s Office. After reviewing the paperwork, the Clerk will then forward the paperwork along with the court file to the judge’s office. All probate matters received without the court file are automatically forwarded to the Probate Clerk for review and returned to the judge for her review and consideration. The Clerk’s office serves the court system exceptionally well in these cases. Every effort should be made to cooperate with the clerk’s inquiries, requests and notices of deficiencies.
Please refer back to “GENERAL INFORMATION.”
If you have any questions about any of the above information, please feel free to contact our office at 850-595-4453.